Ray of Insanity

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Ray of Insanity

There are only four days left until the Super Bowl, which means we only have about 100 hours to absorb, evade, laugh at andor tear our hair out at whatever the hell is going on with Ray Lewis right now.

As you can tell, I've been all over the place on exactly how to feel about Ray. First, you obviously have to respect him as a player. Ray Lewis is a guy you'll tell your children and grandchildren about. For better or worse and every which way, he's a legend.

There's also the fact that he knocked out the Pats, and took great joy in so doing, which takes away some of the luster. There's also the fact that he's pretty much full of crap. That he preaches certain things on the surface -- and does so to a truly outrageous extent -- yet has repeatedly acted in ways that contradict that in personal life.

Not coincidentally, he's also out of his mind, which is something that we've always known about Lewis but is especially true during this last run to the Super Bowl. The man's taken crazy to a whole new level, most recently by showing up to recent press conference with a hairline that had been recently and so-very-obviously been drawn on with what looks to be paint or an industrial strength Sharpie. And then, in my favorite development of the week, Sports Illustrated reported that Lewis may have been acted outside the NFL law in his recovery from torn right triceps. That reportedly led to an interesting conversation between Lewis and one of the representative for a company called Sports With Alternatives To Steroids in which Lewis was:

"Prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will "rebuild your brain via your small intestines" (and which Lewis said he hadn't been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours."

You know, the deer spray has gotten most of the attention from this story, but I can't get enough of the holographic stickers. I just imagine him busting through the doors at his local CVS and screaming: "Where the STICKERS?!" "No, no. That won't do. I need HOLOGRAMS!"

So yeah, there's the fact that it certainly seems like he cheated to get back on the field. It was highly likely that something was up when Lewis came back so quickly from his injury, when he became the first player to ever suffer torn triceps and make it back to play that same season. And this SI report put it over the top. I mean would anyone be surprised if the Ravens win the Super Bowl, Lewis wins the MVP and then three weeks it's revealedproven once in for all that he took illegal substances? Nah.

So, in the end, I think there's only one thing to do.

Root for the 49ers.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Belichick taking wait-and-see approach with Stork's status

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Belichick taking wait-and-see approach with Stork's status

FOXBORO -- Bryan Stork has had a whirlwind few days. 

On Wednesday, news broke that Stork had been informed of his release. Then before that move became official, the Patriots and Redskins worked out a trade to send the third-year center to Washington. After that, indications were that Stork was retiring, and the Redskins were unsure as to whether or not he would even report. 

Stork eventually made up his mind, tweeted that he was ready to start a new chapter in his career -- a tweet he has since deleted -- and made his way to the Redskins.

The latest update on Stork's saga is that he failed his physical and that his right have reverted back to the Patriots. When asked about the situation, Bill Belichick chose to wait on illuminating the media of his plans since the picture was still a bit hazy.

"I don’t know if that’s official," Belichick said of Stork's rights. "That sounds like the way it is going to go."

Asked if the Patriots would be releasing Stork, as they originally intended, Belichick replied, "Well, we’ll find out exactly what the story is and whenever that is we’ll make the best decision that we can."

Stay tuned.

Injured offensive linemen Cooper, Mason return to Patriots practice fields

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Injured offensive linemen Cooper, Mason return to Patriots practice fields

FOXBORO -- The Patriots saw two of their injured offensive linemen return to practice on Monday.

Both Jonathan Cooper (out since suffering a foot injury on July 30) and Shaq Mason (reported hand injury) were on the practice field for the team's warm-up period. The pair then headed down to a lower field to do some conditioning with others. 

Special teams ace Matthew Slater, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, running back Dion Lewis and tackle Sebastian Vollmer were missing from the session. Lewis and Vollmer remain on the physically unable to perform list and won't be prepared to begin the season Week 1. Grugier-Hill missed Friday's preseason game with the Panthers due to an absence.

New Patriots edge defender Barkevious Mingo was present for his first practice with the Patriots. He was wearing the No. 51 which was most recently worn by former defensive captain Jerod Mayo. 

Danny Amendola (PUP), Tre' Jackson (PUP), Rob Ninkovich, Shea McClellin and Malcolm Mitchell went down to the lower field for conditioning after warmups. Jabaal Sheard, who has dealt with a knee injury he suffered against the Saints in New England's first preseason game, remained with the team for drills after warming up. Also, Alan Branch, who was suspended by the Patriots for a week and reinstated late last week, was present at practice. 

Belichick on Knighton release: He worked hard, lost weight...just didn't work out

Belichick on Knighton release: He worked hard, lost weight...just didn't work out

FOXBORO -- Terrance Knighton wasn't released because he was out of shape. Listening to Bill Belichick over the course of the last few days, it sounds as though Knighton's primary issue was learning the two-gapping technique that the Patriots expect their defensive tackles to execute.

"It just didn't work out," Belichick said when asked about Knighton on Monday. "He came in, worked hard, lost weight, got in good condition, tried to do the things we asked him to do. Just other people ahead of him." 

After signing this offseason, Knighton worked diligently to get into the type of condition the Patriots expected from him. The team also set him up with an in-home chef in order to help him manage his diet.

While Knighton was conditioned well enough to practice and play with the Patriots, it seemed as though he was not able to anchor, take on blocks, shed, and react to ball-carriers in the way the Patriots desired. In the team's second preseason game, against the Bears, Knighton seemed to have some difficulty holding his ground and preventing Chicago's offensive linemen from moving him off of his spot. 

The Patriots opted to play younger defensive linemen, like rookies Vincent Valentine and Woodrow Hamilton, over Knighton against the Panthers on Friday.

"Some new techniques, some new things...different things than what he's used to doing," Belichick said when asked about Knighton after the game. "We played the younger guys tonight. We didn't get as much of a look at him as some other players. He played a little more last week. I think there's good competition at that position. We'll just have to see how it all plays out."

Knighton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots this offseason and was guaranteed $250,000.